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Frequently asked questions

AgPTECHlogoWhat is Ag-PTECH?

The Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery Agriculture Pathways in Technology Early College High School, or Ag-PTECH, is a new model for high school education that includes college-level, credit-bearing coursework in the curriculum and allows students to choose their own “pathways” to high-skill jobs.

A consortium of HFM BOCES, its component school districts, Herkimer Community College, Fulton-Montgomery Community College, SUNY Cobleskill and 15 regional businesses was one of seven winners in the third round of New York State Pathways in Technology Early College High School (PTECH) partnership awards announced Nov. 6, 2015 by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The grant funds a PTECH program that targets students who might not otherwise consider a college pathway, using a variety of demographic, academic and social indicators. The school will launch in the 2016-17 school year with 50 ninth-grade students from the component school districts.

Ag-PTECH seeks to redefine secondary education with a curriculum that centers on project-based learning that will focus on skills in nine career clusters — agricultural business, agricultural science, agricultural engineering technology focused on power machinery, biological technology, sustainable crop production, animal industry, culinary arts, environmental studies and fisheries and wildlife technologies. Through the program, selected students can earn one of nine different associate’s degrees at no cost to their families and will be considered for jobs with participating companies when they graduate.

How is Ag-PTECH paid for?

A consortium of HFM BOCES, its component school districts, Herkimer Community College, Fulton-Montgomery Community College, SUNY Cobleskill and 15 regional businesses one of seven winners in the third round of New York State Pathways in Technology Early College High School (PTECH) partnership awards announced Nov. 6, 2015 by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Canajoharie Central School District is handling the financial administration duties related to the grant. School districts pay a tuition fee for students they send to PTECH, for which they can be reimbursed through state BOCES aid. The grant covers the rest of the costs associated with the school.

What college costs are covered for Ag-PTECH students?

All tuition for credits, labs and books are covered, and Ag-PTECH students are granted the same privileges as other students at the participating colleges. However, room and board are not included.

What kind of students are good candidates for Ag-PTECH?

A student who will succeed in Ag-PTECH is motivated to learn in new and exciting ways and thrives in a non-traditional classroom setting. Other important qualities include being creative, being a hands-on learner and having a positive attitude. Potential Ag-PTECH students should have the desire to build strong skills in communications, critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration and time management, and should be interested in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) applied through agriculture-related careers. They also should have a vision of using their individual talents and skills to impact their local and global communities.

Where is the Ag-PTECH school?

A portion of the D. H. Robbins Elementary School building (Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville Central School District) in St. Johnsville houses the Ag-PTECH school. Students will spend their ninth- and 10th-grade years there. Their 11th- and 12th-grade years will be spent at HFM BOCES and one of our participating colleges. Years 13-14 (if needed) take place at a participating college.

Is transportation provided to Ag-PTECH students?

Yes, home school districts will transport students from their home school to Ag-PTECH in the morning, as well as from Ag-PTECH back to their home school in the afternoon. A late bus also is provided from Ag-PTECH.

Can I play sports or do other extra-curricular activities?

Yes, Ag-PTECH students are bused back to their home schools in time to participate in sports or other after-school activities. Ag-PTECH will also offer after-school clubs and activities that include late-bus transportation.

Which school districts participate?

  • Greater Amsterdam School District
  • Broadalbin-Perth School District
  • Canajoharie Central School District
  • Edinburg Common School District
  • Fonda-Fultonville Central School District
  • Fort Plain Central School District
  • Gloversville Enlarged School District
  • Greater Johnstown School District
  • Lake Pleasant Central District
  • Mayfield Central School District
  • Northville Central School District
  • Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville Central School
  • Wells Central School District
  • Wheelerville Union Free School District

Each school district has slots reserved at Ag-PTECH based on their student enrollment.

What degrees can students earn?

There are 9 associate’s degrees offered that students can earn through Ag-PTECH. They are:

  • Agricultural Business
  • Agricultural Science
  • Agricultural Engineering Technology: Power Machinery
  • Animal Industry
  • Biological Technology
  • Culinary Arts
  • Environmental Studies
  • Fisheries and Wildlife Technologies
  • Sustainable Crop Production

When and how do students apply?

The application deadline for the 2016-17 school year has passed. Applications for 2017-18 will be announced in Jan., 2017. Eighth-graders in the participating districts can apply. The application process involves getting recommendations from teachers and guidance counselors, along with completing an application that includes a written statement and a form parents fill out. Applicants also will participate in an interview session.

How are students selected?

Completed applications that are received by the deadline will be evaluated by the Application and Recruitment Team.
Selected students are required to attend a “Summer Bridge” program for incoming freshmen.

What if a student who applies is not selected?

Students who meet the requirements but who are not selected will be placed on a waiting list for their school. Should a slot become available before the start of the school year, it will be offered to a student from the waiting list for that school. If all the available slots for a particular school are not filled, a lottery will be held among students on the waiting lists for all the component school districts.

Is freshman year the only time students can enter Ag-PTECH?

Yes. Because of the way the curriculum is structured to allow for acceleration into college courses, only current eighth-graders are eligible to apply to Ag-PTECH, and students must enter the program their freshman year of high school.

Do Ag-PTECH students take part in their home high school graduation?

Yes, students will be able to walk with their peers during graduation, although they won’t actually receive their diploma until they leave the Ag-PTECH program.

What if I’ve taken accelerated classes in middle school?

An education at Ag-PTECH is highly individualized to each student. Students’ curriculum will be adjusted to reflect the appropriate level of subject mastery.

Who are the business partners and mentors, and what role do they play?

The regional business partners are committed to serving as mentors for students throughout their Ag-PTECH career, meeting with them in person and by virtual communication, as well as guiding internships and putting Ag-PTECH graduates in line for jobs within their companies.

The companies participating as business partners are:

  • Avanti Control Systems
  • CG Roxane
  • Empire State Health Solutions
  • Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • Goderie’s Tree Farm
  • Gray’s Garden & Greenhouse
  • Hu-Hill Farm Store
  • Hulten Speed Sports
  • Little Falls Veterinary Clinic
  • Randall Implements Co., Inc.
  • RC Enterprises
  • Rockview Farms
  • Rogers Family Orchard
  • Settle Family Farms
  • Wemple and Edick’s

If you have more questions, please contact Ag-PTECH Principal Kristy Shafer (kshafer@hfmboces.org) at (518) 568-7023.